Merrimack Baseball Sweeps Bentley, Reduces Magic Number to One

WALTHAM, Mass.  – Junior designated hitter Matthew Ronai went 3-for-4 at the plate and totaled three RBI, two doubles and two runs scored to lead the Merrimack College baseball program to a 9-7 victory over Bentley University on Tuesday afternoon, completing a three-game divisional sweep of the Falcons at DeFelice Field. With the victory, the Navy and Gold’s magic number dropped to one to clinch a spot in next week’s NE10 Championship.

The Basics
Score: Merrimack
 9, Bentley 7
Records: Merrimack (23-17, 15-10 NE10, 10-7 NE DIV)
Records: Bentley (17-20, 11-11 NE10, 7-10 NE DIV)
Location: DeFelice Field | Waltham, Mass.

NE10 Championship Outlook:
The top-four programs in the Northeast Division standings will advance to the NE10 Championship, which begins with the first round one week from Tuesday. Merrimack needs a victory tomorrow night against Assumption to clinch a top-four finish in the Northeast Division, and needs two wins over its last four games to lock up third place.

  1. SNHU – 15-3 NE DIV
  2. Franklin Pierce – 12-5 NE DIV
  3. Merrimack – 10-7 NE DIV
  4. Assumption – 8-9-1 NE DIV
  5. Stonehill – 8-9-1 NE DIV
  6. Bentley – 7-11 NE DIV
  7. Saint Anselm – 5-12 NE DIV
  8. Saint Michael’s – 4-13 NE DIV

Rapid Recap

  • After combining to score 33 runs last week, the Falcons and Warriors appeared headed to similar result through four innings on Tuesday. Ronai hit a first-inning double that advanced graduate student Tyler Lyne to third, who then trotted home on a balk. Merrimack’s other run came across on a first-and-third play, which saw Ronai touch home plate after sophomore Thomas Joyce swiped second base
  • Merrimack scored twice in the second on a RBI groundout and a two-out run-scoring single by Ronai. Junior Anthony Garbarino came through in the top of the third with a RBI single that allowed the Navy and Gold to take a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the third
  • Bentley got to freshman starter Timmy Kalantzakos in the third, scoring four times and sending 10 men to the plate. Merrimack responded with two more runs in the fourth, but Bentley equaled that output in the bottom half, making it a 7-6 game through four frames
  • Facing junior Daniel Amidon for the third time this season, Bentley pushed the game-tying run across in the bottom of the sixth, using a sacrifice fly to even the game at 7-7
  • Senior Ricky Smith immediately broke the deadlock in Merrimack’s next at-bat, hitting a two-out base knock that scored Joyce. Ronai knocked in his third run of the day in the seventh on a sacrifice fly, bringing the Warriors’ advantage to 9-7
  • Merrimack’s pitching staff did not allow a run from the sixth inning on. Amidon retired six of seven batters in the sixth and seventh frames, and worked out of a two-on one-out situation in the eighth. The lefty allowed the game-tying run to come to bat after a one-on walk in the ninth, which brought junior Trevor Cooley into the game. The right-handed arm retired the next two batters on 12 pitches, picking up his first career save

Notes and Notables:

  • WP: Amidon (3-2) | LP: Christopulos (0-2) | S: Cooley (1)
  • Ronai picked up his third consecutive multi-hit game, breaking out of a slump that saw the Orange, Conn. native total five hits in his previous 28 at-bats. The No. 3 hitter set a new career high in RBI (36), knocking in at least three in a game for the third time this season. He is five base knocks away from a new career best (59)
  • Smith equaled his teammate with a team-high three hits, equaling his career high as a junior with 30 hits this season
  • Amidon tossed 5.1 innings of relief, throwing 98 pitches and allowing just two earned runs. He lowered his season ERA to 4.45 with the quality outing
  • Cooley threw his fourth consecutive scoreless appearance out of the bullpen, spanning the last 5.2 innings thrown. He became the fourth different Warrior this season with a save

Up Next
The Warriors will play their final home game of the season tomorrow night when Merrimack hosts Assumption for a 7 p.m. tilt at Trinity Stadium in Haverhill, Mass. The contest represent the series-deciding tilt between the division rivals, with each program winning one game each entering tomorrow night.

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